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Bost Launches Global Anime Video-on-Demand from Japan

posted on by Egan Loo
2 titles for Australia, N.Z. now; 1 more title for U.S., U.K. next week

The Japanese startup company BOST Digital Entertainment has officially launched its international anime video-on-demand service on November 26. The first English-subtitled episodes of the Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora - looking up at the half-moon ("HanTsuki") romance anime and the Shinigami no Ballad: momo the girl god of death supernatural anime are available immediately in Australia and New Zealand for a rental fee. Episodes of the Keitai Shoujo romance anime will be available for free in North America, Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and the United Kingdom starting December 3.

BOST Chief Executive Officer Chou-Chun Fan tells ANN that BOST TV will offer both free and paid-for content, with most paid-for content costing 100 points or US$1.99 per episode. (HanTsuki and Shinigami have a rental period of 14 days.) Viewers buy points through the PayPal online payment system. Fan adds that the company is also exploring different pricing stuctures.

The streams are subtitled in English with a Japanese soundtrack, and BOST plans to add more languages in the future. Fan says that the videos streams are delivered in Adobe Flash format for its multi-platform compatibility, with a codec (coding/decoding software tool) providing "high quality video streams at near DVD resolution."

All three announced series are six-episode series from Pony Canyon (HanTsuki, Shinigami) or Milky Cartoon (Keitai Shoujo). Even though BOST offers full episodes of HanTsuki and Shinigami only in Australia and New Zealand for now, the episodes' previews can be watched from anywhere. According to Fan, BOST approached Pony Canyon about licensing these two series for other countries besides Australia and New Zealand. "However," he added, "since our venture is a totally new concept in the face of the current anime business practices, we will need support from the fans to strengthen our case. We would urge fans to show their support by using the Feedback Form on our site."

HanTsuki tells the story of a boy who reaches out to a girl during their stays in a hospital. Shinigami centers around Momo, a girl who happens to be a god of death — complete with a scythe and her own black cat familiar. Both anime are based on popular light novel series that have also inspired live-action television drama series.

An episode from the Keitai Shoujo romance series will premiere every week, starting on December 3. Unlike the other two series, Keitai Shoujo will also be available in North America and the United Kingdom. After they premiere, all six episodes will be available for free until February 26. Each of the first five episodes features a different girl in a high school boy's life. Viewers can vote on which girl the boy should choose, and the poll results will determine which epilogue will be shown for the sixth and final episode. (A similar poll was conducted for the Japanese release.)

This article has a follow-up: BOST Offers Keitai Shoujo Anime Online for Free (2007-12-03 16:48)
follow-up of Bost Announces Global Anime Video-on-Demand from Japan (Updated)
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